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Summer/Fall 2021 Rules for Student Groups

These rules govern in-person activity that can be organized and/or funded by your student organization (for all undergraduate, graduate, and professional students) in Summer/Fall 2021.

Guidance is based on current university and city/state policies as communicated to the campus community via email on June 24, 2021. If these policies change during the semester, the guidelines for student organizations may also change.


Student group activities may be held in-person, both on and off-campus

  • While groups are eager to return to pre-pandemic operations, student organizations are encouraged to be mindful that not all members of the Penn community will be comfortable with, or able to engage in fully in-person activity. To that end, organizations are asked to:
    • Normalize the option of wearing a mask at in-person events.
    • Reduce the size of activities when possible.
    • Continue hosting events outdoors when possible.
    • The disease is still most highly transmitted in our community when people eat and drink together. Prioritize pre-packaged meal options whenever possible, promote good hand hygiene and always have hand sanitizer available. Be thoughtful of how food/beverages are served at activities.
    • Consider how hybrid modes of meeting/interacting can be utilized. Virtual activities are very inclusive and afford your members some opportunity for self-care instead of running across campus all day. Decide which standing meetings, activities that regularly conflict with mealtimes, or deliberations that run late into the night might be held virtually.
  • Facilities on campus will have their own rules of operation and may vary from site to site. Groups must follow all rules and expectations set forth by the facilities in which they are hosting activities.
  • Groups are no longer required to submit the event approval form or the food purchase request form before they can begin planning events, however, they must consult their financial coordinator at the beginning of the planning process to ensure compliance with Penn policies and best practices. Student organizations should continue to work with their financial coordinator/financial center early and often during the event planning process to spend money in accordance with the current financial policies.
  • Organizations may resume travel related to the mission of their organization. Public health guidance will vary by country, state, and locality. It is the responsibility of students to be aware of public health guidance wherever they travel.
  • Student groups may host guests on campus. Guidance for guests on campus can be found at the Penn Coronavirus website.
  • There are special considerations for activities that include children 12 and under. If your group typically hosts events with children on or off-campus, please consult with your advisor for guidance.

Student groups may not:

  • Track or ask members to disclose (verbally or written) their vaccination status.
  • Require students to show proof of a negative Covid test before participating in activities.
  • Force people to remove their mask.

Resources to Support Student Organizations

There are resources available to support student organizations in their efforts to host safer activities.

  • Public Health Ambassadors (PHAs) may be available to support events that are at higher risk for Covid transmission. Factors such as the size of an event, being open to the public, or the presence of food/beverage/alcohol may result in the recommended use of a PHA.
  • Individual students will retain access to their Zoom account provided through the University.
    • Additionally, the Office of Student Affairs will maintain licenses for free access to Zoom Webinars and BlueJeans Events, which can host up to 1000 participants at a time. Please be in touch with OSA to request access to these resources on an event-by-event basis.
  • PennOpen Pass is available for reporting symptoms and exposures. While no longer required for building access, group members can utilize this tool and ask members to display red or green passes as needed.
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